WASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — As the 2012 G8 Chair, the U.S. has assumed the lead for the three nonproliferation groups that report to the G8: the Nonproliferation Directors Group (NPDG); the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (GP), and the Nuclear Safety and Security Group (NSSG). These groups will meet throughout 2012 to help develop and implement international objectives for nonproliferation.

Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas M. Countryman will host the first meeting of the G8 Nonproliferation Directors Group (NPDG) on January 25, at the Department of State. The NPDG provides the opportunity for G8 representatives to consult on key issues concerning the nonproliferation of primarily nuclear – among other – weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems. The NPDG has focused on ways to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime, in particular the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

U.S. Ambassador and Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs Bonnie Jenkins will host Global Partnership members and ten additional international organizations for its first meeting January 24-25 at the Department of State. The G8 leaders launched the Global Partnership at the Kananaskis Summit in 2002 as a 10-year, $20 billion initiative that focused on projects in Russia and the former Soviet Union. Over the years, the Global Partnership has expanded to include additional regions around the world; extended the Partnership beyond 2012; and broadened its focus to include nuclear and radiological security, biosecurity, scientist engagement, and implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540 to combat WMD. In 2012, the 23 members of the GP will build upon this agreement and continue to pursue nonproliferation and threat reduction projects globally.

Under the leadership of Patricia Metz, Senior U.S. Coordinator for Nuclear Safety, the G8 Nuclear Safety and Security Group will support the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan for Nuclear Safety developed in response to the Fukushima accident, emphasize the importance of strong nuclear plant safety culture, and support G8 endorsement and participation in the IAEA Response and Assistance network to strengthen international emergency preparedness. The NSSG had been created at the Kananaskis Summit also in 2002 to provide technically informed strategic policy advice on the safe and secure use of nuclear energy worldwide. The NSSG will hold its first 2012 meetings March 7-8 in Washington, DC.

Learn more about the State Department’s Nonproliferation policies and the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation at: